Paris SS 2011 Couture: Valentino

The Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild played host to the Paris' final Couture show: Valentino. Design duo Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri marched models up a wood floored runway, fabrics of chiffon and silk stitched at the waist to allow swinging from hips, ending just above the knee or trailed behind ankles. A flash of traditional Valentino Red, this time streamlined and minimalist stood out among a bouquet of washed floral tones of tea pink and periwinkle blue. Silver whites and creams sparkled, embellished with Swarovski crystals which sent the light it caught dancing as fabric swished. Heads were held high with the help of flourishing chokers made up of butterflies and flowers which blossomed from the neck. Raw edged silk in large frills made up collars and trimmed skirts and dresses. Long sheaths of sheer chiffon were appliquéd here and there with the occasional butterfly or flower, one long black billowy piece with long sheer sleeves was tied at the waist, trailed at the ankles and decorated here and there with blossoms of Japanese pink flowers and black leaves. Some sleeves and necks were flirty and sheer with sweet collars, while others were more austere with stiff organza. A blue cloud of periwinkle blue fur looked like plumage, a line of raw frilled silk peeping underneath. More volume ensued with a pink dress, a jellyfish like pleated hoop sitting around the the waist, arms visible through the sheer chiffon.

Backs and waists were sweetly bowed, with the latter also seen embellished in a panel of striped crystals. Models trod the boards in round toed embellished heels which were strapped at the ankles, their hands clutched around book-shaped bags reminiscent of Olympia Le-Tan. Hair was off the face and split with a centre parting, each side braided into rope like French plaits and knotted together at the nape of the neck while faces were fresh and illuminated and youthful, eyes highlighted in a terracotta hue.